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European Union/Germany

Published on December 17, 2013
Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to I-télé/Europe 1

Paris, December 15, 2013

Q. – Germany has a grand coalition government; what’s that going to change for you in concrete terms?

THE MINISTER – What’s happening in Germany is very important. Basically, the timings of Mrs Merkel’s and François Hollande’s mandates are similar. Mrs Merkel has now been elected until 2017, François Hollande too.

What I’d like is for this similarity in timings to be translated into a similarity in projects. On Wednesday morning, Mrs Merkel will be before the German Parliament; on Wednesday evening she’ll be in France. We’re going to try – if the Germans are willing – to put together a joint project to propose to all the countries of Europe, with a number of key objectives, the goal being to give Europeans the opportunity to care about Europe again.

Q. – What does the Social Democrats’ presence change? In what way are the Social Democrats going to change course?

THE MINISTER – We’ve already seen it in the project. It’s changing things on the social front, since, in particular, a minimum wage is going to be adopted in Germany, which hasn’t had one before now. No doubt this is also going to give it a more employment-focused tone. And it’s also, I think, going to allow us to make more headway when it comes to the environment and the approach to Europe.

I was saying that we have to have similar projects. I’m thinking of three or four spheres in particular. There’s the economic and social sphere, tax. There’s what’s called banking union; we’re going to achieve it in the next few days. This means that the money which savers are depositing in the banks will be guaranteed; so, whatever the difficulties, they won’t lose their money. It also means that even if there are financial crises, this won’t be a crisis for states’ budgets. There are going to be things to do on the social front; we’ve got things going. We’ve amended the Posting of Workers Directive.

So, firstly, there’s the monetary, economic and social sector; secondly, the environment and energy. In this respect I’d like there to be a European environment and energy community and, at the practical level, I’d like us to prepare together the big summit in Paris in 2015. Thirdly, I think we’ve got to build – there’s a very important European summit on this issue this week – Defence Europe.

It isn’t right for France to go to the CAR alone. It isn’t right for there to be no European UAV. So if we’re able to move forward on the economic and social front, on the environment and energy, on Defence Europe, we’ll have done a good job. (…)./.

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